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Chocolate Hollow

Submitted by: Madeleine Siegel
State: Vermont
City: Colchester

Business Description

Chocolate Hollow manufactures, markets and distributes dairy-free chocolates, including non-dairy "Milq" chocolates. Our chocolates are sold both wholesale and retail.

What makes your business one of the best small businesses in your community?

Chocolate Hollow was inspired by the owner’s desire for high quality dairy free “milk” chocolate. Since our first season at the Burlington Farmers’ Market, our journey has led us to create a competitive product for a growing worldwide market: dairy-free MILQ chocolate, branded for the upscale mainstream consumer. Our delicious filled chocolate bars are sold in over 100 outlets in the United States, Australia, and online. Our revenue was approximately $70,000 in 2016 and $100,000 in 2017. We have completed our beta phase, and now have the space and equipment for rapid expansion. We are ready to add employees, and are committed to creating high quality jobs in the greater Burlington community. Our products are dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and GMO-free. We use only fair trade cacao and sugar. While growing sales, we intend to develop a deeper public character by featuring artists in branded material, and maintaining a commitment to transparency, sustainability and community.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

SCORE mentors helped me refine my business plan, improve my financial statements, and understand how to value my business for purposes of discussions with potential investors. My local SCORE mentor also introduced me to valuable resources in my business community.

Please describe the specific ways that your business has been successful and how it will grow in the next year.

We have been successful in sales growth (almost 50% increase 2017 over 2016) and in reputation. We are in over 100 retail outlets that offer our products and get unsolicited requests from stores. Our growth has been limited in the past by production capacity, but we have recently moved into new space and have acquired new equipment that will increase our capacity by a factor of 20. Given those changes, in the next year we expect to add employees and substantially increase sales. We will add distributors, improve our packaging, and expand our advertising.
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